JERUSALEM — Israel on Tuesday unveiled its new Barak tank for the military’s Armored Corps, a platform equipped with artificial intelligence, sensors, radar and small cameras.
The Defense Ministry said the tank’s systems will provide superiority to Israeli troops by revealing enemy locations and providing targets for combat troops on the battlefield based on 360-degree peripheral observation technology.
“The Barak tank was designed based on a concept of anti-fragility, with the aim of providing the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers a weapon system with built-in flexibility, which will allow them to win in all combat situations,” said Brig. Gen. Oren Giber, who leads the ministry’s Merkava and armored vehicles directorate.
The Barak, like the Merkava tanks of previous generations, was developed by the Defense Ministry’s directorate of armored combat vehicles, locally known as MANTAK, the ministry told Defense News.
The ministry would not specify the number of units on order, their deployment timeline nor their cost, but did say the price is similar to that of the Merkava 4M, despite the technological leap. A Merkava 4M for the Israel Defense Forces is about $3.5 million.
The Barak’s unveiling comes about two decades after Merkava 4 tanks entered the IDF’s inventory. Development for the Barak took five years, and it underwent testing over the last year.
The ministry said it expects to provide the military dozens of tanks each year, with the first Barak brigade standing up in about two years. During this process, the older Merkava 4 tanks will change hands from regular battalions to reserve battalions.
The Barak is expected to replace all Merkava 4 tanks in the 401st Brigade by the end of 2025.
The Barak includes touch screens and an operational application store to help with missions. The tank’s system is able to quickly produce and extract information, then transfer that data to strike assemblies as part of a target bank, while also transferring intelligence in real time between military branches.
According to the Armored Corps, a pair of Barak tanks will be able to carry out tasks for a combined force that previously required a platoon or a whole company worth of Merkava tanks. An armored tank company typically has 10 tanks, reserve officers from the corps told Defense News.
Mass production for the new tank began last month, and a company with Battalion 52 of the Armored Corps recently received its first Barak.
Tzally Greenberg is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has experience reporting on economic affairs as well as defense and cyber companies.